Introducing Trondheim’s Maker Movement

There’s a buzz going around Trondheim at the moment.

And it’s not the excessive number of insects drawn by the stupidly hot July. It’s Trondheim’s growing reputation in the maker world.

Before I dive into detail about what’s exactly happening in Trondheim, I want to talk a little about the maker movement in general, in case some of you are unfamiliar with it.

I sat down with Frode Halvorsen, CEO at Trondheim Makers, and began with one simple question: What is the maker movement?

“I am not sure where to start. I got fascinated by the maker movement a few years ago, there’s been a lot of makers in Norway and all over the world for a long time but without a “tag”, so finally we have a name for what we are doing. A few days ago I read an article at MAKE Magazine which describes the difference between a hackerspace, a makerspace, and a tech-shop.”

“In 1995 there was the first Chaos computer camp in Germany, a hacker camp, they started the first hacker space. Around ten years ago a group of people from America visited the camp, became influenced by the movement and took it back to the US. They started hacker spaces in the US. Also around 2005, Dale Dougherty was planning to start a magazine, he called it initially Hack, but his daughter suggested he call it Make, because everyone likes to make stuff and it sounds a lot more positive, so he called it Make. From there the hacker and maker movement grew, so really maker is a more positive way of describing a hacker.”

“Typically it’s for tech-heads, but I like the way the maker movement embraces textiles, food and beverage, for example. As long as you make something by yourself, you are a maker. You don’t have to have a PhD in electronics or micro controllers as long as you are making stuff and building stuff, you are a maker.”

Maker movement Norway

To get a different perspective, I hit up Wikipedia:

“The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture. Typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of CNC tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and traditional arts and crafts. The subculture stresses new and unique applications of technologies, and encourages invention and prototyping. There is a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them creatively.” – Wikipedia

So to me, the maker movement is nothing new.

We all had an elderly relative or eccentric uncle who used to spend their weekends tinkering in the shed or garage, right? Maker!

The maker movement in Trondheim

In addition to the engineers, designers and makers of NTNU, Trondheim also hosts Hackheim, and a soon-to-be workshop for makers at DIGS.

Returning to Frode Halvorsen, I asked him to describe how the movement came to Trondheim, and what they have planned.

Alf Egil Bogen, co founder of AVR, saw a need for a better culture of innovation and new opportunities in the city, so Trondheim Makers was established. It’s a membership organisation working for a better community and environment to allow a maker movement to flourish in Trondheim. Last year we held a test maker-faire at Pstereo festival. This year, we are going for a real big one.”

“Over 100 maker faires of varying sizes have been held around the world. This year’s event in Trondheim will be a featured event alongside the likes of Tokyo, Paris and Shenzhen. We had to do a lot of convincing to the heads in San Francisco but we created a document about Trondheim’s tech culture, the number of tech-focused students, and the density of research-based technology here in Trondheim, which helped a great deal. We will welcome people over from Make magazine and TIME has already mentioned us, so this will really do something for the city.”

Maker Faire Trondheim

Trondheim Maker Faire takes place at Torvet over the weekend of 29 & 30 August. Expect up to 75 makers and businesses showcasing their projects, alongside workshops, talks and seminars. Get involved in such activities as learning to solder, roasting coffee, sewing iPhone cases, and the nerdy derby, a car race for small wooden cars. There’ll also be robot kits available and a robot race.

Photo credit: Intel Free Press